Top Wrongful Termination Attorneys in Orange CA

First Class Legal Representation for Unjust Job Terminations in Orange CA

If you’ve been fired from your job and believe it was wrongful, it’s crucial to seek legal help. While “wrongful termination” is a commonly used term, it has a specific legal definition. Our experienced wrongful job termination lawyers can quickly determine if your termination violates the law. Not every unjust firing is also illegal. Let our unlawful termination lawyers review your case and provide reasoned analysis upon which you can decide on how to best move forward.

Skilled Representation from Among the Best Wrongful Termination Law Firms in Orange CA

Our wrongful dismissal lawyers in Orange not only understand the law but also the procedural requirements that apply to courts in the County of Orange. Our wrongful firing lawyers can navigate state, federal, and local procedures with ease, ensuring deadlines are met.

Resolving Disputes: Efficient and Effective Representation for Orange CA

Having a strong reputation can impact the outcome of a case. Our firm’s reputation as one of the best wrongful discharge law firms in Orange can lead to quicker and better outcomes in employment disputes. Our goal is to resolve unjust firing disputes efficiently and effectively without unnecessary litigation whenever possible.

Connecting with Orange Juries: Local Insight Matters

Building trust with a jury is crucial. Our lawyers in Orange understand the local community and can effectively communicate with Orange County juries, making us strong advocates for our clients in wrongful job termination litigation and trials.

Choosing the Right Wrongful Termination Lawyer: Personalized Service from Wrongful Termination Attorneys in Orange CA

Finding the right lawyer can be challenging, but our commitment to quality sets us apart. At Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C., we treat each case with the attention it deserves. If you are contemplating filing a wrongful firing case, contact us for a complimentary case evaluation.

When to Act: Don’t Delay

Time is critical. Deadlines must be met to protect your rights, and evidence can disappear over time. Contact us as soon as possible to ensure compliance with deadlines and preserve evidence.

Areas Served:

The litigation and trial attorneys of the Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. provide services throughout Southern California including but not limited to AdelantoAgoura HillsAlhambraAliso ViejoAltadenaAnaheimApple ValleyArcadiaArletaAtwater VillageAzuzaBakersfieldBaldwin ParkBanningBeaumontBellBell GardensBellflowerBeverly HillsBlytheBoyle HeightsBreaBrentwoodBuena ParkBurbankCalabasasCalimesaCamarilloCanoga ParkCanyon LakeCarsonCathedral CityCerritosChatsworthChino HillsChinoClaremontCoachellaColtonComptonCosta MesaCoronaCovinaCulver CityCypressDana PointDesert Hot SpringsDiamond BarDowneyDuarteEagle RockEast HollywoodEast Los AngelesEastvaleEcho ParkEl MonteEl SegundoEl SerenoEncinoFontanaFountain ValleyFullertonGardenaGarden GroveGlassell ParkGlendaleGlendoraGranada HillsHacienda HeightsHawthorneHemetHesperiaHighland ParkHighlandHollywoodHollywood HillsHuntington BeachHuntington ParkIndian WellsIndioInglewoodIrvineJurupa ValleyLa Canada FlintridgeLa-Crescenta MontroseLa HabraLa MiradaLa PalmaLa PuenteLa QuintaLa VerneLaguna BeachLaguna HillsLaguna NiguelLaguna WoodsLakewoodLake BalboaLake ElsinoreLake ForestLancasterLawndaleLincoln HeightsLoma LindaLong BeachLos AlamitosLos AngelesLos FelizLynwoodManhattan BeachMar VistaMaywoodMenifeeMission HillsMission ViejoMonroviaMontclairMontebelloMonterey ParkMoorparkMoreno ValleyMurrietaNewbury ParkNewhallNewport BeachNorcoNorth HillsNorth HollywoodNorthridgeNorwalkOntarioOrangeOxnardPacific PalisadesPacoimaPalos VerdesPalmdalePalm DesertPalm SpringsPanorama CityParamountPasadenaPerrisPico RiveraPlacentiaPomonaPorter RanchRancho CucamongaRancho MirageRancho Santa MargaritaRedondo BeachResedaRialtoRiversideRosemeadRowland HeightsSan BernardinoSan ClementeSan DimasSan GabrielSan FernandoSan JacintoSan Juan CapistranoSan PedroSanta AnaSanta ClaritaSanta MonicaSawtelleSeal BeachShadow HillsSherman OaksSilver LakeSimi ValleySouth El MonteSouth GateSouth PasadenaSouth WhittierStantonStudio CitySun ValleySunlandSylmarTarzanaTemeculaTemple CityThousand OaksToluca LakeTorranceTujungaTustinTwentynine PalmsUplandValenciaValley GlenValley VillageVan NuysVenturaVictorvilleWalnutWest CovinaWest HillsWest HollywoodWest Puente alleyWestchesterWestminsterWestwoodWhittierWildomarWinnetkaWoodland HillsYorba Linda

Featured Wrongful Termination Case:

Blom v. N.G.K. Spark Plugs (U.S.A.), Inc., 3 Cal. App. 4th 382 (1992)

Plaintiff Wouter Blom appealed from summary judgment in favor of defendants, N.G.K. Spark Plugs (U.S.A.), Inc. (hereafter N.G.K.), and its parent corporation (collectively defendants), in an action for wrongful discharge from employment. The judgment followed summary adjudication that plaintiff’s wrongful discharge causes of action were preempted by the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The Court of Appeals’ opinion states in relevant part as follows:

Plaintiff’s complaint alleged three causes of action: wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, breach of express and implied employment contract, and defamation. The validity of the defamation claim is not here at issue. Plaintiff’s tortious wrongful termination claim alleged that in October 1987 plaintiff, apparently a Caucasian, was hired as personnel manager by N.G.K., a California subsidiary of a Japanese corporation. Plaintiff was told to “Americanize” N.G.K.’s staff, which was disproportionately Japanese. However, in the ensuing months N.G.K.’s executives stoutly resisted plaintiff’s suggestions and efforts to diversify personnel and, perhaps more important, to eliminate discrimination in wages and other benefits in favor of the Japanese employees, as well as discrimination against women employees. These efforts included attempts to secure compliance with the FEHA and with Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Plaintiff’s efforts were met not just with rejection but with personal retaliation with respect to his salary, working conditions and performance evaluations. Ultimately plaintiff was terminated because of his antidiscrimination efforts and defendants’ resistance to them.

Plaintiff’s second cause of action realleged the facts of his hiring and termination, and further alleged that when he was hired N.G.K., by various words and acts, agreed that plaintiff would not be terminated or retaliated against for carrying out his duties in accordance with California and federal law, nor be terminated without good cause. Plaintiff’s discharge violated this agreement.

Defendants moved for summary adjudication that both causes of action were groundless, based on two contentions: (1) that plaintiff had not been discharged but had resigned; (2) that California common law provided no cause of action for wrongful discharge in retaliation for objecting to sex or national origin discrimination. The trial court ruled the first issue presented a triable issue of fact as to whether plaintiff had been constructively terminated. The court recharacterized the second issue to be whether the FEHA preempts common law causes of action for wrongful discharge based on retaliation for attempting to enforce the public policies declared in the FEHA. On this score, the court squarely concluded that the public policies in question were sufficiently strong to support a wrongful discharge action of the type endorsed in Tameny v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (1980) 27 Cal.3d 167, 164 Cal.Rptr. 839, 610 P.2d 1330 (hereafter Tameny ). (See also Foley v. Interactive Data Corp. (1988) 47 Cal.3d 654, 665–669, 254 Cal.Rptr. 211, 765 P.2d 373 [hereafter Foley ] ). However, the court further ruled that the FEHA indeed preempted these causes of action. For this proposition the court cited Ficalora v. Lockheed Corp. (1987) 193 Cal.App.3d 489, 238 Cal.Rptr. 360 (hereafter Ficalora ), while noting that a contrary Court of Appeal decision had been granted review by the Supreme Court.

Defendants then moved for summary judgment on all causes of action. Plaintiff countered with a motion to amend the wrongful discharge causes. The court denied plaintiff’s motion and granted defendants’.

Following the trial court’s summary adjudication that plaintiff’s claims were barred because preempted by the FEHA, the Supreme Court decided the case the trial court had noted was under review: Rojo v. Kliger (1990) 52 Cal.3d 65, 276 Cal.Rptr. 130, 801 P.2d 373 (hereafter Rojo). Rojo held that the FEHA neither expressly nor impliedly preempted other rights of action on account of employment discrimination arising under state law, including common law. (Rojo, supra, at pp. 73–82, 276 Cal.Rptr. 130, 801 P.2d 373.) Expressly disagreeing with the contrary construction of the FEHA in Ficalora, supra, the Supreme Court concluded: “While the FEHA conferred certain new rights and created new remedies, its purpose was not to narrow, but to expand the rights and remedies available to victims of discrimination. [Citations.] Under the act, plaintiffs are free to seek relief for injuries arising from discrimination in employment under any state law, without limitation.” (Rojo, supra, 52 Cal.3d at p. 82, 276 Cal.Rptr. 130, 801 P.2d 373.)

Faced with this nullification of the trial court’s rationale, defendants seek to save the judgment on the related theory that there exists no common law right of action for discharge in retaliation for seeking to correct or remedy an employer’s sex or national origin discrimination. In Rojo the Supreme Court reserved passing on the validity of a “retaliation” cause of action, such as had been dismissed in Ficalora, supra, because none was presented. (Rojo, supra, 52 Cal.3d at p. 82, fn. 10, 276 Cal.Rptr. 130, 801 P.2d 373.) Subsequently, another Court of Appeal ruled in favor of a retaliation cause of action. (Carmichael v. Alfano Temporary Personnel (1991) 233 Cal.App.3d 1126, 1132, 285 Cal.Rptr. 143.) For the following reasons, we find that plaintiff’s causes of action do subsist at common law.

Plaintiff’s first cause of action, for tortious wrongful discharge, derives from Tameny, supra, 27 Cal.3d 167, 164 Cal.Rptr. 839, 610 P.2d 1330. Tameny elucidated and applied “California’s common law wrongful discharge doctrine” (id. at p. 179, fn. 12, 164 Cal.Rptr. 839, 610 P.2d 1330), and held that a tort claim arose in favor of an employee who had been discharged for refusing his employer’s demands to violate the law. Rejecting the employer’s objection that such a discharge was not prohibited by statute, the court discerned that when a discharge “contravenes the dictates of public policy” it is actionable in tort. (Id. at pp. 177–178, 164 Cal.Rptr. 839, 610 P.2d 1330.)

In the present case plaintiff grounds the wrongfulness of his termination in public policies whose strength and sufficiency cannot be doubted. To the extent that plaintiff’s claim is based upon defendants’ alleged practice of and refusal to redress sex discrimination, the Supreme Court already has held that the transgressed public policy supports a Tameny cause of action. Rojo, a sex discrimination and harassment case, found such an actionable policy appeared in article I, section 8 of the California Constitution (hereafter section 8), which provides that “A person may not be disqualified from entering or pursuing a business, profession, vocation, or employment because of sex, race, creed, color, or national or ethnic origin.” (Rojo, supra, 52 Cal.3d at pp. 89–91, 276 Cal.Rptr. 130, 801 P.2d 373.) And the same status must also attach to section 8’s policy against national origin discrimination. As with sex discrimination, this policy “ ‘inures to the benefit of the public at large rather than to a particular employer or employee.’ ” (Rojo, supra, 52 Cal.3d at pp. 89, 90, 276 Cal.Rptr. 130, 801 P.2d 373, quoting Foley, supra, 47 Cal.3d 654, 669.) In present times, the importance to our multi-ethnic economy of equal economic opportunity needs no elaboration. Moreover, the inclusiveness of the policies asserted well appears in the present case, in which a member of the male Caucasian “majority” allegedly sought to insure that sex and national origin discrimination did not make second-class workers of himself and others.

Defendants suggest, however, that plaintiff may not invoke section 8’ s public policy regarding national origin discrimination, because that particular prohibition did not predate the FEHA. But the notion that the FEHA only “saves” preexisting common law causes of action also was rejected in Rojo. In this connection the Supreme Court stated: “Because the FEHA … expressly disclaims any intent to displace other relevant state laws, no resort to interpretative aids is required and the existence vel non of a preexisting cause of action for the particular discrimination is irrelevant…. Under the act, plaintiffs are free to seek relief for injuries arising from discrimination in employment under any state law, without limitation.” (Rojo, supra, 52 Cal.3d at p. 82, 276 Cal.Rptr. 130, 801 P.2d 373.)

The remaining question is whether, in light of these public policies, there exists a common law cause of action for discharge in “retaliation” for seeking to rectify violations. We believe that existing case law compels an affirmative answer.

As a factual matter, “retaliation” has long provided a basis for wrongful discharge cases, including Tameny itself. In Tameny the plaintiff alleged that although he had been fired ostensibly for incompetence, “ ‘the sole reason’ for plaintiff’s discharge was his refusal to commit” acts violating the antitrust laws. (Tameny, supra, 27 Cal.3d at p. 171, 164 Cal.Rptr. 839, 610 P.2d 1330.)4 The court later also referred to the discharge as “coercing” the employee to act illegally. (Id. at p. 178, 164 Cal.Rptr. 839, 610 P.2d 1330; see Rojo, supra, 52 Cal.3d at p. 91, 276 Cal.Rptr. 130, 801 P.2d 373.) But realistically, the nexus between the employer’s illegal purposes and the discharge was as much “retaliation” as “coercion.”

In Rojo, moreover, the Supreme Court confirmed that the factual predicates of a Tameny cause of action are not inflexible. The plaintiffs in Rojo alleged they were terminated because they refused to acquiesce in their employer’s sexual harassment. Upholding plaintiffs’ entitlement to pursue a Tameny cause of action, the court stated: “[W]e reject defendant’s argument that Tameny claims should be limited to situations where, as a condition of employment, the employer ‘coerces’ an employee to commit an act that violates public policy, or ‘restrains’ an employee from exercising a fundamental right, privilege or obligation. The contention is without merit. Although decided in the factual contexts of coercion (Tameny [citation] ) and restraint (Foley [citation] ), neither Tameny nor Foley excludes wrongful discharge claims based solely on sex discrimination or sexual harassment. To the contrary, the cases strongly imply that an action for wrongful discharge will lie when, as here, the basis of the discharge contravenes a fundamental public policy.” (Rojo, supra, 52 Cal.3d at p. 91, 276 Cal.Rptr. 130, 801 P.2d 373.)

In the present case, the alleged basis of plaintiff’s discharge was “retaliation” for his efforts to require defendants to conform to employment discrimination laws and policies. That such retaliation frustrates and contravenes the underlying public policy, so as to give rise to a Tameny cause of action, was articulately recognized in Hentzel v. Singer Co. (1982) 138 Cal.App.3d 290, 188 Cal.Rptr. 159 (hereafter Hentzel ). Plaintiff there alleged he had been discharged in retaliation for efforts to obtain a “smoke-free” environment from his employer. After reviewing enactments prescribing workers’ rights and employers’ obligations concerning a healthful working environment, then Presiding Justice Grodin explained why plaintiff’s factual allegations stated a Tameny cause of action: “It requires little analysis to perceive that the legislative purpose underlying these provisions would be substantially undermined if employers were permitted to discharge employees simply for protesting working conditions which they reasonably believe constitute a hazard to their own health or safety, or the health or safety of others. Achievement of the statutory objective—a safe and healthy working environment for all employees—requires that employees be free to call their employer’s attention to such conditions, so that the employer can be made aware of their existence, and given opportunity to correct them if correction is needed. The public policy thus implicated extends beyond the question of fairness to the particular employee; it concerns protection of employees against retaliatory dismissal for conduct which, in light of the statutes, deserves to be encouraged, rather than inhibited.” (Hentzel, supra, 138 Cal.App.3d at p. 298, 188 Cal.Rptr. 159.)

In sum, Tameny and its progeny confirm, implicitly and explicitly, that discharge of an employee in retaliation for resisting employer violations of laws that secure important public policies contravenes those policies, and gives rise to a common law action in tort. (Accord, Collier v. Superior Court (1991) 228 Cal.App.3d 1117, 1127, 279 Cal.Rptr. 453 [“Retaliation by an employer when an employee seeks to further … well-established public policy … seriously impairs the public interest….”].) Such conflict and contravention certainly appear in this case, in which an employer’s personnel manager alleges he was discharged because he insisted on bringing illegal employment discrimination to the employer’s attention and eliminating it. On this score, we necessarily part company with Ficalora, supra, 193 Cal.App.3d 489, 492–493, 238 Cal.Rptr. 360, which based its rejection of such a cause of action on a restrictive construction of the FEHA that has been rejected by Rojo, supra, 52 Cal.3d at pp. 77–82, 276 Cal.Rptr. 130, 801 P.2d 373.

The foregoing discussion of plaintiff’s tortious wrongful discharge cause of action responds as well to defendants’ identical arguments in opposition to plaintiff’s second cause of action. It bears noting, however, that that cause of action, for breach of contract, legally differs from the Tameny cause, and was not even theoretically vulnerable to the arguments posed against it.

Plaintiff’s second cause of action alleges defendants promised, and then breached their promise, that they would not discharge plaintiff for performing his duties as personnel manager consistent with the law. Although the facts of defendants’ alleged breach of contract coincide with their alleged violation of public policy, the legal basis of the contract cause of action is the parties’ agreement about grounds for termination, rather than extrinsic public policies infringed by termination. (Cf. Foley, supra, 47 Cal.3d at p. 683, 254 Cal.Rptr. 211, 765 P.2d 373; Tameny, supra, 27 Cal.3d at pp. 175–176, 164 Cal.Rptr. 839, 610 P.2d 1330.) Hence, this cause of action was not dependent upon identification of a strong supporting public policy. Rather, the alleged agreement between employer and employee stands on its own; it “will be enforced so long as it does not violate legal strictures external to the contract….” (Foley, supra, 47 Cal.3d at p. 677, 254 Cal.Rptr. 211, 765 P.2d 373.)

The judgment was reversed.


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